Destination Beaufort: On The Road with The SportsLifer
The Old Sheldon Church, formerly known as the Prince William Parish Church, has had a tumultuous and eventful history since its first service in 1757.
Wow. What a whirlwind couple of weeks. Back from vacation now. As that old Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy used to say, here’s the happy recap.
Over the course of 13 days, visited 11 states, including West Virginia and nine of the original 13 colonies — New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Oh yes, and the District of Columbia too.
Set a new world land speed record, driving the 850 plus miles from Hopewell Junction, NY, to Beaufort, SC, in 14 hours. Do the math, that’s better than 60 miles per hour. Lots of caffeine, quick pit stops. XM Radio in the rental car kept me juiced. Kids, don’t try and do this.
Temperatures on the trip ranged from a sultry 104 in Hilton Head, SC, to the high 40s in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Skyline Drive.
Beaufort, South Carolina is quite a town. The Big Chill, a film about a group of baby boomer friends who reunite after the death of a college friend, was filmed entirely on location in Beaufort in 1983. Kevin Costner was cast as the dead character Alex, but all of the scenes showing his face were cut.
And while in Beaufort, had the pleasure of meeting Robbie Knievel, right, the daredevil son of daredevil dad Evil Knievel. In a bar, of course. There I learned that Robbie has completed over 250 jumps, setting 20 world records. These include the Caesars Palace Fountain jump, the building to building jump and the Grand Canyon jump. He made his first jump at the age of 8 at Madison Square Garden.
My nephew’s wedding was a highlight, set in the ruins of the Old Sheldon Church outside of Beaufort. The church had been burned down twice, by the British in the Revolutionary War and later by General Sherman’s men in the Civil War.
The service featured a Marine traditional crossing of the swords. The newlyweds, Patrick and Trisha, spent their honeymoon in the California wine country, where they received a royal tour of the Benziger family winery from old friend Mike. Nice Marine touch there too; Mike’s late father Bruno, served with the Marine Corps in World War II.
Following the wedding, proceeded west across South Carolina, past the capital city of Columbia, for a reunion with another old friend, Max. Boating and golfing and drinking beers. Bingo, like Woodstock for middle-aged men.
Determined to see some scenery on the way back, made a slight detour to take in the Skyline Drive in Virginia. The Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park and offers stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the rolling Piedmont to the east. Was on the lookout for bears eating acorns in the large oak trees along the drive, but didn’t see any.
But wait, there’s more. Yet another old friend (that’s what you call friends when you get old) came up with ticket in the Fox luxury suite for the first game ever at the new stadium in the Meadowlands, yet to be named. Seated near midfield, we watched as the Giants rallied with a strong second half to defeat the Carolina Panthers.
On the final day of vacation, this intrepid traveler climbed Brace Mountain, the highest point in Dutchess County. And from there, after a walk in the woods, came upon the granite tri-state marker, left, that denotes the spot where New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts meet.
After this vacation, I think I need another one.
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